ALLENTOWN, Pa. - It's been forty years since Allentown has had a direct train line to New York City. But there's a vision to change that in as little as three years.
This new Amtrak vision would put a station not only in Allentown, but Bethlehem and Easton too. But whether it becomes reality hinges on that infrastructure bill you've heard a lot about.
It's a plan leaders, local and regional, hope will gain more traction - resuming passenger rail service from Allentown to New York, something the area hasn't had in 40 years.
"Allentown is just like any other cities facing challenges and opportunities presented by additional growth...We're looking at global climate concerns, longer traffic jams, additional truck traffic on our roads," said Allentown Deputy Mayor Leonard Lightner.
The Allentown -NYC route would offer two daily round trips, with a travel time of about two hours and fifteen minutes. It would also include stops in Bethlehem and Easton.
Amtrak is also looking at adding a Scranton-NYC service and New York-Philadelphia-Reading service.
"Linking these communities within inner-city passenger rail service would create new economic opportunities and provide the region with a sustainable, safe, convenient and low-carbon transportation option, enhance quality of life and drive community development," said Amtrak President Stephen Gardner.
It's expected to cost $6 billion to build, using both existing Amtrak and other rail lines like Norfolk Southern, and require some new track construction.
Officials say getting the program off the ground hinges on funding.
"Yes we do have to pass the Build Back Better plan. We have to pass the infrastructure plans moving through Congress. I can tell you, I and many others like me, will be doing our dead level best to make sure these things pass," said Rep. Matt Cartwright (D)-District 8.
If all the money was secured, officials say it would take about three years to complete the project.
A vote on the bipartisan infrastructure agreement is expected by Sept. 27 at the latest.